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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Ethical Consideration of Doping Argument for Anti-Doping

Mr. Daisuke Togo
School of Sports Sciences (graduated in March of 2008)

Almost the entire lecture hall is filled for this popular class.

Doping refers to invalid use of a measure (drugs or method) which has the possibility of amplifying the competitive ability of an athlete. In recent years, newspapers and television news have been full of reports of doping allegations against prominent major league baseball players and famous track and field athletes. This new is reported under the presupposition that this kind of doping is "bad" and "should not be done" and is the subject of criticism. Those reading and viewing these reports also share the same presupposition. Even Jack Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has raised terrorism and doping as the "greatest enemies to the Olympics.

However, as I will introduce in this article, the class "Argument for Anti-Doping", which is led by Professor Tomozoe, does not start by assuming that doping is bad. Doping is considered from a viewpoint other than emotional arguments or calculation (profit and loss). Specifically, doping is considered from an ethical viewpoint.

The appeal of this class is that different considerations in regards to doping are made easy to understand through the use of specific examples and explanations. The lecture begins with the question: "why is doping done?" In reality, if an athlete can rise even just once to the top of his or her sport, he or she can receive several billion yen (or tens of millions of dollars.) Therefore, even if the many side effects of doping cause suffering, an athlete will engage in doping if he or she can obtain great wealth. In the lecture, this decision is applied to the more familiar example of a salesperson. The intense salesperson performs his duties going without sleep or vacation and while drinking nutritional drinks, all while knowing that such a lifestyle is unhealthy. Both athletes and company workers must perform to make a living, so they will "work" at the price of sacrificing their health. By replacing the distant presence of a top athlete with the familiar presence of a company worker, the questions arises if it is ethical to prohibit doping, which is one method of obtaining an income, amongst people whose lifestyles depend on their performance.

Ultimately, the basis of the anti-doping argument is considered from an ethical standpoint in this class. However, this ethically-based way of thinking should be acquired in order to deepen study and understanding of the entire sports culture, not just doping. Being able to studyan ethical way of thinking is another appeal of this course. By participating in the "Argument for Anti-Doping" class lead by Professor Tomozoe, an expert in sports ethics, students will certainly acquire a new viewpoint regarding doping.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)